NYCS Swag Spotlight Williams Honor

Williams Honor

This week’s Swag Spotlight shines on two musicians, Gordon Brown and Reagan Richards, who call themselves Williams Honor, a name they told us honors their late fathers, William and Benard. We talked with them about everything from their influences, their journey as a duo, and how they view the ever-changing genre of country music.

Hailing from the Jersey Shore’s Asbury Park, Williams Honor has a unique rise in the industry. Richards made the big move from New Jersey to Nashville to further her career, where she worked with an impressive list of collaborators and sang back-up for rock artists, while Brown, spent decades writing, producing, and directing all in the realm of the music world.

Although the two have known of each other for years, the two met in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy ripped through New Jersey and New York. Both Richards and Brown performed on the same benefit show, bonding over their roots and Nashville, and the rest was history.

“Being that we had two separate careers, all of sudden we say ‘hey’ why don’t we look into doing something together and we started writing and that’ sorta how Williams Honor started. It was very organic. It just really happened with us realizing that we had the same interests, the same goals, and the same things that we really loved,” Richards tells us.

Their mutual love for country music both brought Williams Honor together and have kept them dedicated to the genre over the last few years too. “With country music, you listen to that song. And from the first word sang until the last word sang, you know what they’re talking about,” adding, “And 9 times out of 10 you can relate to it or your best friend can relate to it. So when we sit down to write, that’s what we write, we write country music. Because of just being able to resonate with it. It’s authentic, it’s truly authentic. We love it, we write it.”

The duo hopes to continue to be ambassadors for country music, as they show their loyal fans across many genres that at the heart of country music is a story and a message. This understanding truly resonates across their original music. Mixing old school country-rock influences of everyone from Pasty Cline, Frank Sinatra, and Johnny Cash to Keith Urban, Bon Jovi, and Little Big Town, Williams Honor runs the gamut of the country music spectrum and have truly found a fresh, yet vulnerable sound.

With a new song, “Step!” just released, the duo also have a new full-length album on the horizon. The record will focus on themes of loss and grief while hoping to empower fans at the same time. The duo wrote every single song off the record together, with one exception, where they partnered with a talented songwriter to create the tune. According to Brown, “This second album that we are just finishing up right now is, of course, another bunch of building blocks on what Williams Honor is, what country music from the east coast is, what country music from Asbury Park is,” adding, “It’s got all the great ingredients that Reagan and I decided we wanted to infuse our music with from day one. This record is about grief and loss. It’s an empowering record for those who need it.”

In their time as a duo, Williams Honor has garnered quite the army of loyal and diehard fans to support them. As we anticipate the new record, we also looked back on the success they have already had as artists, recounting a magical time in their career, where the duo got to open for Bon Jovi at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York City. “I did grow up in the shadows of Madison Square Garden,” Brown tells us, “[It’s] where Springsteen would play multiple night sin a row or where Bon Jovi exploded through the years. […]. How great for us, playing country music out of Asbury Park, one of the few artists to ever give that a real whirl, to get a tap on the shoulder by one of the areas’ biggest bands.” They later added, “To play The Garden and to have the support from our music community, there are no words to describe that.”

To keep up with William Honors follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

“Step!” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Cody Purvis

Cody Purvis

This week’s Swag Spotlight artist, Cody Purvis hails from a small town in Virginia. After conversing with the singer, it seems like he was destined to become a country music artist from a young age. Both his mother and father were musicians, and he spent his childhood watching his parents perform, all the while, falling in love with music himself.

“I kind of went around watching them play while I grew up,” he tells us. “That’s kind of where I fell in love with music and decided to follow that passion for myself.” Purvis went on to play in a few different bands all through high school, before ultimately, taking the leap of faith to test the waters in Nashville, Tennessee.

Growing up listening to country music greats like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Conway Twitty, country music was a necessary fit for Purvis’ passion. He even named Toby Keith as one of his influences. Despite adoring country music, the singer shared a liking for all different types of music. “I enjoy all kinds of music. I have respect for all different genres of music. I enjoy the new stuff too,” but he ultimately stated that the more traditional side of country music “just has a special place in [his] heart.”

As a self-proclaimed “songwriter’s friend,” when it comes to his own music, Purvis searches for songs that feel meaningful to him. Although also a songwriter, the singer chose to carefully select songs written by some of Nashville’s talented songwriters for his latest project, an EP entitled Boots on the Ground.

“I believe that there are a lot of songwriters in Nashville that are there to be songwriters and I like to listen to their songs because that’s what they’re there to do,” he shares with us. “It’s really cool to get to listen to so many different songs and so many different styles and narrow it down to the five songs that I thought was the best to fit me.”

Purvis accomplished that feat with his latest release. After listening to over two thousand songs, the rising artist narrowed it down to five special tracks. Each of the five tracks showcases a different side to the recording artist’s talent and story, keeping fans excited for his music. His lead single, “Drinkin’ Terms” has amassed over 7 million streams across all platforms and even charted on Billboard. The follow up single “Whiskey” continues to be added to playlists across streaming platforms too.

Despite the success with the two singles, the singer resonated most with the title track of the EP. “‘Boots on the Ground’ is probably my favorite one on there,” he tells us, adding, “It’s just one of those songs that I really connected with when I heard it. […] I’m a very pro-military guy myself. It kinda reminds me of how lucky we are to live in this great country.”

Fans can anticipate a lot more music coming their way this year! Purvis hopes to release a new EP sometime this year, as well as, many tour dates on the horizon to look out for. The Red 11 Music rising artist will be one to look out for, and we are excited to see where his career takes him next!

To keep up with Cody Purvis follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“Drinkin’ Terms” is now available everywhere you can buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

Saturday Night Live Combs

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Alex Hall

Alex Hall

Our Swag Spotlight this week, Alex Hall spoke with our Managing Editor, Christina about growing up in Gainesville, GA, idolizing Elvis Presley and putting in 10 years honing his craft before signing his record deal with Monument Records. As a child, Hall lived on a small horse farm and would go to the rodeo every weekend to race his horses. His first recollection of loving music was randomly finding Elvis Presley, not only loving his music but everything about him. “Elvis grew up very country, in a rural area in Mississippi and then moved to Memphis, everything about him besides his music was really country,” he tells us. “I resonated with him so much, I would dress up as him and put on concerts with my karaoke machine and would sing his live concerts front to back. I studied him, I still to this day could probably give an entire documentary interview about him.”

His love for music was then shaped by his father listening to the country greats, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson while his mother was a rock n roll fan, playing ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC. Between sports, rodeo, starting to dig into songwriting and guitar, Hall was already busy in high school but when he was 15 years old he made his first trip to Nashville with his parents and his life changed forever. From then on he would spend hours in the car driving back and forth from Nashville to Gainesville, taking cowrites, playing gigs, and working to gain some traction for himself in the music industry. After moving to Nashville after he graduated high school, Hall explains it was almost 10 years to the day from when he first visited Music City to when he was offered a record deal with Monument Records “I feel like it’s like you are earning your Masters Degree in the music industry,” he explains. It’s like you earn your education to where you get to graduate and perform surgery on people,  It’s the way that it works.”

Speaking of his record label, Monument Records, co-presidents Jason Owen and Shane McAnally fell in love with the singer-songwriter and upon meeting, offered him a record deal on the spot. McAnally had been on his list of dream cowriters for a long time, so to have the chance to actually work with him and have him believe in his music is something he cherishes. “Shane is amazing at tearing stuff apart and putting it back together in a beautiful way, I have learned to deconstruct stuff to build it stronger and better, he is an amazing guy, mentor, label head, producer, TV guy and all of the above.”

He then takes a moment to tell us about the first single they released last year, “Half Past You”. Looking for a breezy, acoustic song, to complement the groovy, electric and uptempo other songs on his debut project, the song was originally written by Hall along with Pete Good and AJ Babcock. Then he tells us, “Shane literally ‘Songlanded’ us, saying,  ‘I want to push you to rewrite these verses’, he sat in with us and we rewrote it and in about 10-15 minutes we had rewritten every verse and that is the version that’s out now.”

As for 2020, Hall is heading out of the United States for the first time in his life and gets to play C2C in London with headliner Eric Church as well as other festivals over the summer. He also plans to continue writing and recording for his debut record.

To keep up with Alex Hall follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

Saturday Night Live Combs

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
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NYCS Swag Spotlight Featuring Kylie Frey

Kylie Frey

Photo Credit: Rachael Mason

This month’s Swag Spotlight series features Louisiana born Kylie Frey; a former rodeo star, honky-tonk singer, and rising country artist. Growing up in a rodeo family in Louisiana, music came a little bit later for Frey. Her early success originated from roping calves and tying goats, however she showcased another talent with her voice at the rodeo. Frey said, “When I was about five years old, I started singing the National Anthem at every rodeo I was entered in, so that’s how I got into it.”

Music became even more prominent in her life when she began writing her own songs. Frey revealed, “I picked up playing guitar around13 or 14 and it was the age of Taylor Swift.” A voice coach encouraged her to write, and at that point in her life, she was just a little girl who did not know how to get her feelings out.

Writing songs became her outlet and safety net, not imagining she could ever be a big-time country star. It was essentially a form of therapy, Frey explained, “It was me getting my feelings out onto a piece of paper and for some reason, words just made sense when you put a melody and chords to it.”

Frey’s earliest memories of country music and major influences were Shania Twain and The Dixie Chicks. One of the most incredible full-circle moments occurred when Frey was a contestant on “Real Country,” and Shania Twain chose her to be on her team.

It was back in Kindergarten when Frey dressed up as Shania Twain for career day, and Twain was able to see the photo during the audition. However, it was not the childhood photo that stood out to Twain, Frey explained that “Twain told her she heard a strong independent woman.” and her response was, “Yes, that is because who your music taught me to be.”

It was truly a life-changing experience for Frey who recently released her new single “One Night In Tulsa.” The singer-songwriter tells a story of the desperation of wanting one more night with someone when you know it ultimately will not work out. Frey possesses the incredible ability to write songs that draw us in with her traditional county style and smooth, powerful voice.

Looking forward to 2020, Frey will be releasing new music, in addition to “all things deep-fryed.”

To keep up with Kiley Frey follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collectionby NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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NYCS Swag Spotlight Update Jordan Rager

Jordan Rager

“I think country music is at its best when we don’t try to say- I’ll say not just about country music- but about all music, I think music is at its best when we just enjoy what we enjoy listening to […]. It should be that simple when it comes to music.” – Jordan Rager

Back in April 2018, we had the pleasure of interviewing rising artist, Jordan Rager as he was on the brink of a new career move and signing with Riser House Records. Check out our original Swag Spotlight here to learn more about that move, as well as, his backstory. Most recently, we caught up with the singer to chat about his new sound, new music, and what fans can expect from him in 2020.

For the last six years, Rager has been working hard in Nashville to get his music out there and to build his fanbase. Since signing with Riser House, the momentum has picked up, as he is finally able to release the music he is most passionate about. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was put music out that I believe in and have a team of people behind me who believe in that music and I have that now,” he tells us. “2019 was a lot of kinda reintroducing myself to people.”

Over the course of the year, Rager has released five songs that truly personify, who he is as a singer, songwriter, and a performer, including the two most recent tracks “The Wrong Ones” and “Dirt In My Veins.” The former came about by happenstance when the singer joined forces with songwriters, Michael Whitworth and Brent Anderson.

“The three of us were in very different places relationship-wise,” he shares, adding, “We’ve all got this different perspective on relationships at the time of writing this song. That’s kinda the conversation that we’re having that got us on the topic of ‘it takes getting it wrong to get it right,’ that’s the thing we kept going back to.” The trio of songwriters included details of their own experiences in the creative tune. As Rager looked back on the writing experience he decided that “…it was just the perfect formula to write that song that day.”

In regards to “Dirt In My Veins,” the Georgia native delivered a song that is an enticing ode to his hometown. “That song was the first thing that I wrote after signing with Riser House. That was kinda the song that like, kicked off, call it a new direction, a new sound or a new attitude, that was the song that started it because I wrote as honestly as I possibly could about how I feel about my hometown.” After writing the track, Rager decided that he was going to take that approach to all of his music and no longer try to fit a mold.

Although the songs have garnered success, the singer-songwriter admits that it was a scary decision to change up his sound into something that felt more genuine and authentic to him. “If I’m being honest, I was incredibly nervous going into 2019 because I knew that this new music, all five songs that we were going to release this year, I knew that sounded different than what people probably expected from me,” he explains. “I used influences that I had my entire life and for lack of a better term, I kinda got weird on a couple of songs.”

For Rager being transparent and honest in his music and having fans connect with his lyrics and melody is the ultimate reward. “As a writer and as an artist, there’s no greater high than having somebody say ‘I understand completely what you’re saying,’ ‘I’m right there,’ ‘you wrote that song about me,’ stuff like that.”

At this point in his career, Rager is an artist who knows who he is. His vast influences, such as Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, 2000s alternative and punk rock, and even Rock ’n’ Roll, keep his music at the forefront of creativity. He is someone that is going to continue to take risks because he is truly all about the music. Looking ahead, fans can expect a ton of new music in 2020. The singer will also be getting back out on the road to play the songs for his fans. “I’m excited to keep rocking and rolling and to keep building this machine that we’re trying to build!”

To keep up with Jordan Rager follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“The Wrong Ones” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

NYCS Swag Spotlight: Tebey

Tebey

Continuing to shine our light on rising artists and talented singer-songwriters, our Swag Spotlight this week is Tebey. He is a creative that hails originally from just outside of Toronto, Canada with roots now firmly in Nashville, Tennessee for over a decade. The singer-songwriter chatted with us about his musical journey, his new single, and of course how he views the evolution of country music.

“I grew up listening to everything,” he tells us, naming country musicians like George Strait and Kenny Chesney as some of his top favorite country artists, adding, “But I also loved Boyz II Men, Nirvana and just kinda anything that was great. I have a very eclectic musical taste […]. I’ve always been a fan of music and I’m lucky enough to make it a career.”

In his several years in the industry, Tebey has found success working with many different artists all across the board, when it comes to genres. He has earned accolades as both a producer and a songwriter, working with artists like One Direction, Cher, Flo Rida, and even artists from the United Kingdom.

Fans can find Tebey’s eclectic experience and influences in his own music too. Although he identifies as a country artist, listeners can expect a unique sound and vibe from the budding artist. He shares, “I think music doesn’t really have borders anymore,” adding that streaming has helped artists and fans connect. “There’s a lot of great artists from Canada that are making music up there, but people here in the United States are able to get a hold of that music more easily than they were back of the day”

The genre-bending in country music is something that Tebey welcomes, agreeing with us that ‘good music is good music.’ The singer shared with us more about his experiences, backing up why he believes fans welcome the modern country sound and intermingling of genres. “I think now more than ever, your typical country music fans listen to more than one genre of music,” he explains. “I see it at my shows a lot, 22-year-old, 23-year-old kids, at my shows, I know for a fact that they are there because they’re a Tebey fan, but they’re also listening to Drake and ASAP Rocky.”

Tebey, even went on to say, “I think before country music wasn’t ‘quote on quote’ cool, but then you got artists like Taylor Swift and even a little while ago Rascal Flatts, people like that were making music that was crossing over. Thomas Rhett in particular is making music that is country, but it’s also reaching people outside of the genre.”

Like some of those cross-genre artists, Tebey is making music that fans from across the globe can relate to as well. Most recently, he released his new single “The Good Ones,” which is a duet with songstress, Marie-Mai. In the few short months, since it has been released, the song has garnered close to 2 million streams across platforms.

“I sat down with my co-writers that day in Nashville, and we started randomly painting the picture of this relationship and this girl driving in this Toyota Tacoma,” he started to tell us, adding, “We eventually ended up settling on the title “The Good Ones.” Tebey feels that the song showcases a universal message, stating “I think a lot of people are going to be able to relate to the lyric because we’ve all had relationships that have ended, we all have had relationships that we have lost.” Interestingly enough, the artist keeps songs close to his heart before releasing them, and “The Good Ones” is a track that still felt special years after it was written.

Before we let Tebey go, we had to check in with what he has planned for the new year. 2020 will be a year of getting his music out there and touring across the world. He already has plans for a tour in Canada and Europe, but shares that he might have to plan a United States tour too! Look out for new music coming towards the end of February in the meantime.

To keep up with Tebey follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“The Good Ones” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

NYCS Swag Spotlight: Elizabeth Lyons

Elizabeth Lyons

This week our Swag Spotlight shines on a one woman show, Elizabeth Lyons. She is a fiercely talented singer-songwriter with an eye for business and a caring heart, who shared everything with us from her childhood to how she got where she is now and everything in between.

Lyons is a Midwestern girl who has had music in her soul since she was a kid. “Since a young age, I’ve always loved music. I basically learned my letters, so that I could learn to play piano,” she tells us, adding, “I joined church choir […]. I auditioned for musical theatre until I made the music theatre production and I ended up being in 18 musicals. So I always performed.”

Fresh out of high school, the songstress embarked on a new journey south to Nashville, Tennessee, where she simultaneously was a student at Vanderbilt University and an intern at a music publishing company. For her, everything shifted, when she saw Florida Georgia Line’s song “Cruise” take off, despite the fact that they were newcomers on the music scene.

“[They] inspired me to use word of mouth marketing to do what I needed to do to follow my dreams because I wasn’t super confident when I moved down to Nashville, being an artist.” By the time she reached her senior year of college, Lyons released her debut EP, which garnered accolades on iTunes. The singer credits both Florida Georgie Line and Taylor Swift as two artists, who inspired her on her path. “I attribute Taylor for helping me move down to Nashville and Florida Georgia Line for making me pursue my dream.” Of course, Lyons shared that she also loves artists like the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and the Spice Girls.

Clearly inspired by many powerful women in the industry, Lyons shared her own philosophy on life with us, calling “patience, perseverance, and persistence” her mantra for getting things done each and every day and her reminder to work towards her goals. She recently was invited to sing the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium, which she shares, was on her to-do-list for three years! Lyons encourages others to write and manifest their own dreams and goals too.

“In terms of women in country, over the years, there have been times when women dominated and when men dominated, it would be nice if we all just dominated together,” she reflected, “But I think there are a lot of great up and coming artists […]. There are so many independent artists that are just killing it.”

As an independent artist herself, Lyons is also finding success in country music, especially in regards to the festival circuit. She has opened up for artists like Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan and played her own music at many festivals across the United States. Most recently, she released an inspiring song called “Epiphany” and shared the writing process with us.

“Epiphany is so personal, I really feel like it’s a tale that many people can relate to today in today’s world about how social media and our society influences us to compare ourselves to others and change accordingly,” she tells us, explaining, “I really wanted to write and I just needed this song for myself really and I thought that maybe because I needed it that other people may need it. In all of my music, I try to put a ray of sunshine or a piece of hope in it, so I really did want to make it a bright anthem about being true to yourself.” The song is a beautiful tribute to Lyons as an artist, as well as, to how relatable she is to her fanbase.

Going forward into 2020, the songstress promises to release more thought-provoking music, including a song called “24,” which is slated to be released in mid-January. Of course, Lyons will continue to play shows in the new year too. It will be exciting to see how more and more fans gravitate towards her music and how her career continues to blossom.

To keep up with Elizabeth Lyons follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“Epiphany” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

 

 

 

NYCS Swag Spotlight: Tara Thompson

“I want to change the world, and I’m just little old me, so I might as well do that with lyrics because God gave me that talent to tell stories and hopefully make people laugh.”

Tara Thompson

This week we got to champion a uniquely talented artist, who truly knows who she is and what kind of music she wants to put out into the world. Our Swag Spotlight is singer-songwriter, Tara Thompson. We recently got to chat with the songstress about her career, her musical family, and of course, her brand new Christmas album, which she dropped just two weeks ago.

It was evident throughout our conversation that Thompson has one of those infectious, can’t quit, personalities that she has had since childhood. Growing up in East Tennessee, she tells us that music was always in her blood. “I was one of those weird kids that always had a microphone in my hand, as in the remote was a microphone, the shampoo was a microphone,” adding, “I knew since birth I wanted to be a singer.”

Thompson grew up admiring her cousin and country superstar, Loretta Lynn, sharing “I got to grow up and watch her from behind the scenes and I was completely hooked on it and knew that was exactly what I wanted to do,” later adding, “It’s an honor to be related to someone like Loretta Lynn.” She also credits some of the old-school country greats like Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Tanya Tucker, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash as some of her all-time favorites.

At the tender age of eighteen, Thompson moved to Nashville, where like many artists, she played gigs at bars, for ten years, before she got her break, signing with Big Machine Records. The songstress released her debut record with the label, only to get released three years later. Ironically, being released from the label gave Thompson a new lease on life and a clever idea for an independent record.

She recently premiered her first project as an independent artist called Hillbilly Christmas, featuring the clever and charming lead single “Willie Nelson Tickets” and nine other festive tracks. “I said from the start I want when people hear this album to think ‘wow that’s country music,’ from the first note to the end. It almost takes you back in time, mixed old school and modern, yeah, country,” she shares about the record, hoping that fans garner it “timeless” and break it out year after year for the holidays.

Thompson is sure to make waves with her newest release. She shows her wit, her originality, and her talent throughout the music. The singer-songwriter promises that she has more new music in the works, calling her soon to be released songs, “A lot deeper,” adding, “I feel like my last album that I put out […] was a lot more tongue in cheek. I still like doing that, but I think this is more- I went through something, so my fans get to see a side of me that’s like ‘Oh, oh wow, that’s where she’s been.’ I feel like they can maybe relate to me on a deeper level. So real, authentic, and deep.”

To keep up with Tara Thompson follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Hillbilly Christmas is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

 

NYCS Swag Spotlight: Donovan Woods

Donovan Woods

Photo Credit: Danielle Holbert

Continuing to shine a light on rising artists and singer-songwriters releasing compelling music, our Swag Spotlight this week is Donovan Woods. A native Canadian, Woods grew up in a working-class town, and what he calls a “country music town” but said at the time, it was what all the dads were listening to, so he was initially drawn to hip hop and artists like Another Bad Creation, Bell Biv Devoe, and Bobby Brown. As he matured, his musical tastes also evolved and the great singer-songwriters like Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and Traveling Wilburys became a staple as his influences.

I was eight years old when I picked up a guitar, my older sister told me to have a skill like that, she could tell I wasn’t hitting a home run in the looks department,” Woods laughs.  “She was preparing me for a life, that I was going to have to work for it, she told me I should develop a skill, and so I picked up a guitar that my mom used to play and kept in the house.”

At first, he released a bunch of records on his own in Canada, eventually making connections and moving down to Nashville to continue to pursue a career as a songwriter and artist. Writing songs that were cut by other artists, Woods is a master at crafting lyrics and stories that others felt the need to tell through music. Songs like “Portland, Maine” recorded by Tim McGraw on his 2014, Sundown Heaven Town album and “Leaving Nashville”, recorded and released by Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley’s solo project, The Driver. “Leaving Nashville” is one of the most honest, raw and real songs about the music industry and although we love Kelley’s version, listen to Woods sing it below.

He explains that he loves modern country music, such as HARDY and Morgan Wallen. “I love anything that feels good, that stuff feels good to me,” he says. “Country music is funny, as soon as we get backlash from that other type of sound, someone like Morgan comes along and doubles down on it, it’s such a strange genre.” We discuss at length the fluidity of music, bending genres and putting labels on music. “Country music, Americana, Folk Music, Singer-songwriter, I take it all as a compliment. I just don’t really pay much attention to it. Kids pay a lot less attention to genres these days. They live in a playlist world rather than an album world.”

Recently, he released a duet with one of our 2019 Artists to Watch, Tenille Townes, an acoustic version of his song “I Ain’t Ever Loved No One”. Townes’ unique and evocative voice particularly shines and complements the bittersweet sentiment of a love story that will never be matched.

His latest release, “Way Way Back” was a solo write, a song Woods knew would work with the right production, working with Todd Clark in Nashville, it was released this fall. His gentle voice along with the most powerful, beautiful lyrics make Donovan Woods one of the most talented writers in Nashville. His dry sense of humor and witty remarks also make him one of the funniest to interview and to see live.

We caught his opening set on the Brightly Burst Tour with Ruston Kelly earlier this fall at Bowery Ballroom and he is now playing shows in Canada as he wraps up 2019. He looks ahead to new music in December and getting into the studio to record at the top of the new year.

To keep up with Donovan Woods follow him on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Swearingen & Kelli

Swearingen & Kelli

This week’s Swag Spotlight series features artists Jayne Kelli, and AJ Swearingen, also known as the country folk duo Swearingen & Kelli. Singing and songwriting are what brought this husband and wife duo together, and their infectious story-telling and harmonies are something we will all appreciate.

So how did these two gifted artists come together and create their own musical love story? Well, Kelli grew up in a small town in Michigan, just north of Detroit and Swearingen was born and raised in Bethlehem, PA just north of Philadelphia. They had been solo artists for many years and it was not until their paths crossed at a small venue called “The Hideaway Cafe” in St. Petersburg, Florida that they began working together. Swearingen initially played lap steel in Kelli’s band, and before they knew it their synergy and cohesiveness revealed something special. Swearingen spoke of their effortless ability to collaborate saying, “She fills in the blanks pretty quickly, and we understand each other musically.”

Their country-folk style is heavily influenced by genres that span across decades, and both agreed they were inspired by similar artists. Kelli explained, “We love so many styles, but there’s a lot of folk and country from the ’60s and 70’s that we really pull from and love.” Swearingen agreed, and he added, “My Mom used to spin all kinds of country records like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. So I really was steeped in that and almost exclusive to country music when I was growing up, so that became part of who I am. Lyrically, we’re influenced by the singer-songwriters from the ’70s. ”

The duo has spent the last two years in Nashville writing and recording songs. Swearingen and Kelli drew inspiration from visiting an old timin’ country bar called The Station Inn. In between trips to the bar, they were able to put together an honest record with a classic sound that originated from their own life experiences entitled Cold-Hearted Truth. In order to showcase the realness of this album, they did not use any autotuning on their vocals, with no click tracks, and no isolation booth. Their goal was to let their onstage chemistry and intimacy be heard throughout the recording of the album. Swearingen said, “There’s a lot of our history coming out in all of this writing, and that feels good to us, its a very honest record.”

Cold-Hearted Truth truly is as authentic and raw as one can imagine, and the “live” feeling is captured throughout the entirety of the record. Swearingen and Kelli are currently on the road promoting Cold-Hearted Truth and will be opening up for David Bromberg on select dates. In addition, they plan to release a recently recorded Merle Haggard classic before the year’s end.

To keep up with Swearingen & Kelli, follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook: